18 January 2013

South Africa/Cape Verde: Bafana Needs Home Support to Beat Cape Verde

Johannesburg — Bafana Bafana skipper, Bongani Khumalo, believes home support will play a crucial role if the hosts are to have a successful Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).

The 2013 Afcon showpiece kicks-off with an opening match between Bafana Bafana and Cape Verde at the National Stadium in Johannesburg tomorrow at 6pm.

"The atmosphere of South African supporters always created is world class and absolutely unbelievable, and it can inspire every player to go beyond his potential, so coming to this game on Saturday with 90 000 fans is very special.

"You never know when you will have this opportunity again and we want to make the most of it. That is the advantage you have when you are playing on home soil; you have the fans right there with you every minute of the game," said Khumalo on Friday.

Head coach Gordon Igesund believes the tournament is motivation enough for the players to do well.

"Playing for your country in front of a full house in the opening game of Afcon is enough to push the players to deliver.

"Everybody is excited about that and they are jumping out of their skins to get onto the field. I believe they are ready for this," said Igesund.

As for pressure, the Bafana Bafana mentor says it is part of the game.

"There is pressure for every single coach in this tournament, if there is a coach who tells you he is not under pressure, he is not telling the truth.

"However, it is the kind of pressure that we can handle, the type that is exciting, the type of pressure that you are hosting the tournament and you want to do well and make the country proud," he said.

Bafana Bafana will have their last training session at 11am at Orlando Stadium in Soweto.

Bafana kingpin midfielder Kagisho Dikgacoi has returned to full training after missing out on two days this week.

He joined the rest of his teammates on Wednesday and finished Thursday's session without any complaints.

Meanwhile, South Africa has moved two places up on the Coca Cola FIFA World Rankings released on Thursday. Bafana Bafana is now placed 85th in the world and 22nd on the continent.

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